In pain? There's a pill for that. Congested? There's a pill for
that. Hungry, but don't want to eat? There's a pill for that.
Sad? There's a pill for that. Hyper? There's a pill for that.
Not hyper enough? Yes, there's a pill for that. Can't sleep? You
got it. Take a pill. Just make sure you don't have anything to do
or anywhere to be while you're under its influence. But... just how
long is that, exactly?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that adults typically need between seven and nine hours of sleep
a night, but more than a third of adults get less. Between 50 million
and 70 million Americans suffer from sleep disorders or sleep deprivation,
according to the Institute of Medicine. In the elusive search for a good
night’s sleep, at least
8.6 million Americans take prescription sleeping pills.
Back in 2013, the FDA required sleeping pill manufacturers to lower the recommended dosage of
their drugs, based on research showing that the drugs remain in the bloodstream
at levels high enough to interfere with morning driving, thereby increasing
the risk of car accidents. Manufacturers were ordered to cut the dose
of the medications in half for women, who process the drug more slowly,
and were advised (though not required) to apply the lower doses to men as well.
A new study has helped justify the FDA’s warnings by determining that people
who took Ambien (zolpidem), Oleptro (trazodone), or Restoril (temazepam)
had anywhere between a 25 percent and three times higher risk of being
involved in an accident while driving. Looking at the medical records
and driving records of more than 400,000 new sleeping pill users from
the years 2003 to 2008, researchers found that people who took Restoril
had a 27 percent higher risk of being involved in a crash over the five
years studied. People who took trazodone had nearly double the risk —
91 percent higher. Ambien users had the highest risk — they were
more than twice as likely as non-users to have a car crash over the five-year period.
The study noted that the risk estimates were equivalent to blood alcohol
concentration levels between 0.06 percent and 0.11 percent (the legal
limit in all states for blood alcohol is 0.08 percent). It also discovered
that the effect on new users wears off over time, suggesting that patients
get used to the effects or compensate for them. Because these drugs stay
in the blood for a long time, they can have a variety of impacts on crash
risk, particularly slow reaction time to complex driving situations.
Drugged driving accidents often cause serious injuries because the inattentive
drivers involved do not try to avoid or minimize a crash. It is common
for a Florida drugged driving accident to give rise to a personal injury
lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. If you or someone you love has
been injured by someone who chose to drive while under the influence of
sleeping pills, you need an experienced attorney to effectively represent
your interests. At Stabinski & Funt, P.A., we have been helping people
for over 45 years, and we can help you. Contact us today by calling (305) 964-8644 or
filling out a free case evaluation form.